Stop the Presses! Two People Actually Object to Stealth Marketing!

Two people other than the hardtracking staff, that is.

As our kissin’ cousins at Two-Daily Town noted last week, Boston Red Sox huckster – sorry, slugger – David Ortiz used the President of the United States as a prop for a cheap Samsung marketing stunt when the team was feted at the White House.

And we weren’t the only ones who didn’t like it, as the Boston Globe reported a day later.

White House objects to Ortiz-Obama selfie


WASHINGTON — Samsung drew a rebuke from the White House Thursday for use of a widely distributed cellphone photo that Red Sox slugger David Ortiz snapped this week of himself with President Obama.

The president, one of his top aides said, does not wish to be portrayed as an endorser for the electronics firm, which had employed Ortiz as a social media ambassador.

“As a rule, the White House objects to attempts to use the president’s likeness for commercial purposes,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said during his daily news briefing on Thursday. “And we certainly object in this case.”

As did some Globe readers. From yesterday’s Letters to the Editor . . .

Read the rest at Sneak Adtack.


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The Kick-Ash ’70s Concert We DID Catch in Cincinnati

The hardmewling staff has lately been lamenting the Allman Brothers concert we missed at Cincinnati’s Ludlow Garage in 1970.

Which got us to thinking about a concert we did catch in either April, 1973 or November, 1973 at Cincinnati’s Music Hall. (To be honest, 1973 is a bit of a blur for reasons we’d rather not explore right now.)

Regardless, here’s what we saw:



Wishbone Ash’s lyrics were never its strong suit, but those rockoco guitar riffs from Andy Powell and Ted Turner were fabulous.

Representative sample:



For more, go here. And here. Or even here.

We’re just glad we were there. In April. Or November. One.


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Baseball Players Are Not Heroes

The hardlywatching staff had the TV on in the background last night when we heard a local newscast refer to the Red Sox Home Opener “honoring the heroes on and off the field” – that is, commemorating 1) the 2013 World Series Champion Red Sox, 2) the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, and 3) the two Boston firefighters who lost their lives battling a Back Bay fire last week.


Baseball players are not heroes.

Soldiers who died in Iraq and Afghanistan are heroes.

People who rushed to help Boston Marathon bombing victims are heroes.

Boston Marathon bombing victims who struggled to regain their lives are heroes.

Medical personnel who helped the bombing victims recover are heroes.

All of them have true claim to the title.

Baseball players need not apply.


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Let the Whatever Billion Dollar Rumpus Begin! (McCutcheon v. FEC Edition)

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission decision letting big-bucks political donors go all in, here’s the bad news by the numbers.

From the NBC News digest First Read:

Political spending from outside groups — either created or bankrolled by American billionaires — has skyrocketed from $193 million in 2004 and $338 million in 2008, to a whopping $1 billion in 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.  To put this $1 billion in outside spending in perspective, it’s almost TWICE what John Kerry and George W. Bush spent COMBINED in the 2004 presidential race ($655 million). And it’s THREE TIMES the amount John McCain spent in the 2008 election ($333 million). Another way to look at all of this money: Overall political spending on races (presidential plus congressional) has DOUBLED from $3 billion in 2000 to $6.2 billion in 2012. And in presidential races alone, the combined amount that George W. Bush and Al Gore spent in 2000 (about $250 million) QUADRUPLED to the combined amount Barack Obama and Mitt Romney spent in 2012 ($1 billion-plus). And that doesn’t count the political-party spending…


Fasten your seat belts (as Bette Davis might say).

It’s going to be a bucky night.


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NYT – Finally! – Catches Up to Hardworking Staff (Disney World Edition)

Two weeks ago the hardworking staff did a turn on NPR’s Here & Now with the estimable Sacha Pfeiffer, talking about the Extreme Data Mining currently being inflicted on consumers.

PFEIFFER: So, John, of course, collecting is becoming so widespread, data collection. We hear about it all the time. It’s even now made its way to Disney World. The company has launched a $1 billion experiment called My Magic Plus. Tell us about this and how it works.

CARROLL: Yeah. This is sort of a ride share, a planning system, a reservation system, and what it does is they give you a wristband that has your admission ticket on it. It has your hotel key on it if you’re staying in the Magic Kingdom. It has your credit and debit cards on it. So – and they can track you through the park. So they collect data on what you’re doing and essentially use it so they can have the characters address your child by name, things like that.

So there are a lot of things that they can use this for and essentially make things smoother. What they say is they want to make the experience more immersive, more seamless and more personal. I mean, other people think that it’s just creepy and that the Magic Kingdom will be the trackiest(ph) place on Earth.

We also noted this: “[Y]our Facebook page is being strip-mined like West Virginia.”

Forewarned is forearmed, as the feller says.

Now comes Wednesday’s New York Times with the caboose:

A Billion-Dollar Bracelet Is the Key to a Disney Park

ORLANDO, Fla. — Walt Disney World has spent more than a year rolling out a $1 billion system that changes how visitors do everything from enter their hotel rooms to ride Space Mountain. But a few weeks ago a front desk agent at one of JP-DISNEY-master675Disney’s marquee hotels was still wrestling with the technology.

“Behave, you naughty thing,” a Wilderness Lodge reservations clerk muttered at the malfunctioning management system. Scolding didn’t work, but a computer reboot finally did.

So it has gone with MyMagic+, an ambitious effort to make Disney World more profitable by making its 30 million annual visitors happier. The multifaceted system has taken longer to introduce than expected as Disney has confronted an array of daunting complexities: training 70,000 employees, equipping 28,000 hotel room doors with radio frequency readers, prompting guests to wear data-collecting electronic wristbands.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

As the feller says.


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Big Town v. Bean Town (Traffic Light Division)

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a new series that will examine the good, the bad, and the ugly in the everlasting Boston/New York Bakeoff.

From Politico’s Capital Playbook:

VIDEO OF DAY — driver’s dream come true: Taxi driver Noah Forman hits 100 consecutive green lights. WATCH THE VIDEO: via Gothamist’s Ben Yakas

Here’s the Gothamist piece. And here’s the video:



Contrast that with Boston, whose traffic lights were apparently timed by Joe Cocker.

Bakeoff winner: NY, no contest.


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The Allman Brothers’ Knee-Buckling ‘Mountain Jam’ at Cincinnati’s Ludlow Garage

As the hardpining staff recently noted, we missed out – for reasons we’d rather not revisit – on the Allman Brothers’ 1970 performance at Cincinnati’s Ludlow Garage.

Regardless, we’ve been obsessively listening to the tracks that - Thank Duane! - were recorded that night, especially the monumental “Mountain Jam.” Donovan had no idea what he was starting when he recorded his original ditty three years earlier.

But here’s how the Allmans finished it:





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Fallon Gone (Native Advertising Edition)

Since its NBC debut 60 years ago, The Tonight Show has featured more plugs than Joe Biden’s head. But the recent introduction of GE’s Fallonvention showcase represents a new low for the late night icon.

From Digiday:

GE takes a deep dive into native advertising

Last month, Jimmy Fallon had a group of teen inventors come on “The Tonight Show” to show off their gadgets. Anne, 16, Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 1.31.15 AMshowed off her flashlight powered bythe heat of the human hand. Jonathan, 13, created something called an “iHead,” which is essentially headgear with your iPhone attached to it via suction cup.

This young-inventors showcase is called “Fallonvention,” or rather “GE’s Fallonvention,” and it will be a reoccurring segment on the late night talk show featuring young inventors and their creations, along with Fallon’s own funny inventions and commentary. This is what branded TV looks like. And it is part of GE’s latest big push into the industry’s buzzed-about ad format: native advertising.

According to GE’s executive director of global brand marketing, Linda Boff, “[g]reat content can come from a lot of different places, but funnily enough, it seems to be traditional media can get a little more attention when it comes to native.”

Funnily enough?

Here’s the “great content” GE and Jimmy Fallon are providing viewers . . .

Read the rest at Sneak Adtack.


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Quote o’ the Day (William Tecumseh Sherman Edition)

From Geoffrey Norman’s sparkling piece Grant Takes Charge in the current edition of The Weekly Standard.

“The American press is a shame and a reproach to a civilized people. When a man is too lazy to work and too cowardly to steal, he becomes an editor and manufactures public opinion.”

- William Tecumseh Sherman to his brother, Senator John Sherman, about a newspaper report that Grant “ought to be court-martialed and shot” for the carnage (25,000 casualties counting both sides) at the Battle of Shiloh


But oddly relevant.


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The Brookline Spa Is Back!

The hardworking staff, which has lived a block away from the Brookline Spa for 25 years, remembers when it resembled a front for, we don’t know, maybe a bookie joint – there was some stale bread, a few canned goods, not much else.

It looked like this:




Then last fall it shut down for renovations.

Six months later the Spa is back. And better than ever (which wasn’t all that hard – but why get technical about it).

New look:




New menu here. Facebook page here. Twitter feed here.

The hardmunching staff looks forward to eating there soon.

Like this weekend.


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